As the youngest sister of Vivian Leigh’s Scarlett O’Hara, the brunette actress’s big scene saw her employing “Oh, Mother, can’t I stay up for the ball tomorrow? … I’m 13 now!”
Rutherford was also a mainstay in MGM’s longrunning Andy Hardy series which starred Mickey Rooney as a teenager who seemed to find himself in rather mischevious misadventures. Starting with the series’s second film You’re Only Young Once (1938), Rutherford played Andy’s girlfriend Polly Benedict, who always stood by his side even when he let the likes of Lana Turner, Kathryn Grayson, Esther Williams and Judy Garland catch his eye. She would appear in 11 of the series 16 films.
The daughter of John Rutherford a former New York Metropolitan Opera tenor and silent film actress Lucille Mansfield, Rutherford had her film debut in Mascot Pictures’ Waterfront Lady (1935). She soon found herself as the leading actress in a series of westerns for Republic Pictures before signing with MGM in 1937. In addition to the Andy Hardy series, Rutherford also appeared in such films as A Christmas Carol (1938) and Pride And Prejudice (1940) and starred opposite Red Skelton in a trio of mystery/comedies.
Rutherford left MGM in the early 1940s and freelanced in films like Orchestra Wives (1942) for 20th Century Fox and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) for RKO before retiring in 1950. She briefly returned to acting in the 1970s for They Only Kill Their Masters (1972) and Won Ton Ton, The Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976).